“Unity” That Is Predicated Upon My Exclusion

sarahBy Sarah Matsui, a re-post from The Mennonite

People pray to each other. The way I say “you” to someone else, / respectfully, intimately, desperately. The way someone says / “you” to me, hopefully, expectantly, intensely…
Huub Oosterhuis

Zach (not his real name) and I are still friends.

When I was living and working as a teacher in Philly, Zach remembered the challenges he had experienced during his one year teaching.

Without my asking, he cooked delicious dinners and invited me to a break from my usual peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and instant ramen. In retrospect, his were among the only nutritionally sound meals I ate during my first year of teaching. He also made a point to ask me how I was doing and how my students were doing, and he prayed for us. Continue reading

They Struck a Rock

MeeksBy Catherine Meeks, originally published in Hospitality, the official newsletter of the Open Door Community

“When you strike a woman, you strike upon a rock, a rock that will not break,” said the Zulu/Xhosa women who protested the implementation of pass laws in Pretoria, South Africa. This is a truth that men such as Mitch McConnell, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Spicer and others are nding to be true. Though we might feel that women are un- der siege as in no other time, that would be far from the truth. Women have never had their rightful place in this land or in many others, though there are small corners of the world such as some West African villages and among some Native American communities where the roles of women were highly valued and the archetypal feminine was seen as important.

A few weeks ago, I was red from my ten-year-long columnist position with the Telegraph in Macon because the publisher did not like the tone of my truth telling. After all, a woman, and a Black one at that, needs to make sure to be pleasing. He was upset be- cause the Alt-Right folks in Trump’s administration were criticized in my column and he seems to have taken it personally. Prior to my ring, McConnell silenced Elizabeth Warren and had the audacity to be shocked when she kept talking for a while in spite of his efforts. In addition to these incidents is O’Reilly’s comment about not being able to pay attention to Maxine Waters’ speech because of her “James Brown hair.” Sean Spicer added to the litany by telling April Bryan, a reporter asking a question that he did not like and did not bother to answer, to “stop shaking your head.” All of these reject the notion that women should be pleasing to males and not speak or act in ways that are unsettling or threatening to them. Continue reading

Queen Lili’uokalani of Hawaii

220px-liliuokalani_of_hawaiiBy Grace Aheron.

This piece was developed during the first Bartimaeus Institute Online Cohort (2015-2016), aka “The Feminary.”  These pieces will eventually be published in a Women’s Breviary collection.  For more information regarding the Feminary go here.

80 million years ago, the earth opened up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, liquid land bubbling up through the ocean to cool into a jade island chain. Through the intricate folding of land, sea, wind, and the breath of creation, life came to the islands and flourished in the rich volcanic soil. A few hundred years after the death of Christ, using only the stars and the sea to navigate in their outrigger canoes, master navigators from the West crossed thousands of miles of water to find paradise. In the Kumulipo, the creation chant sacred to native people in the Islands of Hawai’i, the story tells of the intimate linkage between people, the gods, the earth, and plants and animal indigenous to that place. Veneration of the `aumakua (ancestors) and gods weaves the story of present-day Hawaiians into the fabric of history— it is impossible to speak of the origin of native people without telling the origin of the sacred land that provided life. An extensive portion of the Kumulipo is dedicated to enumerating the lineage of the monarchs and royal family of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, and, fittingly, the chant was first translated into English by the kingdom’s first, last, and only sovereign queen, Liliu’okalani. Continue reading

You Either Are or You Are Not

AdichieDay 40 of our Lenten journey beyond “Beyond Vietnam.”  Excerpted from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s recently released Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions (2017):

Beware the danger of what I call Feminism Lite; the idea of conditional female equality. Being a feminist is like being pregnant. You either are or you are not. You either believe in the full equality of men and women, or you do not.

Teach your daughter to question language. A friend of mine says she will never call her daughter “princess”. The word is loaded with assumptions, of a girl’s delicacy, of the prince who will come to save her. This friend prefers “angel” and “star”. So decide the things you will not say to your child. You know that Igbo joke, used to tease girls who are being childish – “What are you doing? Don’t you know you are old enough to find a husband?” I used to say that often. But now I choose not to. I say, “You are old enough to find a job.” Because I do not believe that marriage is something we should teach young girls to aspire to.  Continue reading

Violence Against Women of Color


From INCITE!,a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and our communities through direct action, critical dialogue and grassroots organizing:

What counts as “violence against women”?

INCITE! identifies “violence against women of color” as a combination of “violence directed at communities,” such as police violence, war, and colonialism, and “violence within communities,” such as rape and domestic violence. Continue reading